Monday, August 22, 2011

If Saif al-Islam Qaddafi is "free"... (UPDATED)

1st UPDATE: 10:06 p.m. EDT: A National Transitional Council member is speaking now to al Jazeera, and he is attempting to explain how a man who was under arrest was somehow free. He acknowledges that he, too, cannot understand what took place. He suggested that Saif al-Islam's escape could have come about because of the inexperience of some of the NTC's troops.

ORIGINAL POST: ...then what does that say about the previous day's reports that he was in the hands of the National Transitional Council?

The "news" of the moment (writing this around 8:45 p.m. U.S. EDT) is that Saif al-Islam Qaddafi marched into a Tripoli hotel housing Western journalists and pronounced that forces loyal to his father are in control of large portions of the capital city. He was asked about his father and reportedly said the elder Qaddafi was safe. (BBC reporter Matthew Chance "tweeted" this picture.)

CNN provides additional details on its live blog on what can be described as an unbelievable turn of events.
[Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET, 2:22 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] More information about tonight's appearance in Tripoli of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who rebels claimed was captured on Sunday:
Video showed Saif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and a top official in his regime, shaking hands and greeting supporters overnight while leaning outside of a car in his armored convoy on the streets of Tripoli. He told reporters that supporters of his father Moammar Gadhafi's government "have broken the spines of those rats and those gangsters" - referring to rebel fighters who entered the capital over the weekend.
He said that on Tuesday the government's forces "will reassure the people that things are fine in Tripoli."
Asked about his being wanted by the International Criminal Court - which has issued a warrant for his arrest for his alleged participation in "crimes against humanity" - Saif al-Islam Gadhafi said, "To hell with the ICC."
Rebels had claimed that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and two of his brothers were captured on Sunday and Monday. But Saif is free, and one of the other two, Mohammed Gadhafi, was reported to have escaped Monday, according to the Libyan ambassador to the United States.
Indeed, a few hours before, the National Transitional Council said that another Qaddafi son -- Mohammed -- had escaped, AFP reported. However, there was no indication that Saif al-Islam was about to make a very public appearance, especially recognizing that the International Criminal Court had announced on Sunday that it was preparing to receive him for a potential trial for crimes against humanity.

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